Amy Choate-Nielsen: Leaving Washington: After 18 years in office, Bob Bennett looks to the future

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  • s.p.hansen Bountiful, Utah
    Dec. 22, 2010 5:00 p.m.

    Bob Bennett did a commendable job as Senator for the State of Utah and I'm grateful for the service which he gave to our State and our Country.

    I'm very troubled with the direction my Republican party is headed. I identify with Ronald Reagan so I struggle to find common ground with the new brand of conservatives (libertarians).

    I'm going to try and explain this as simply as I can. When the Federal Government invested billions of dollars in projects like Utah's Central Utah Water Project or UDOT's overhaul of I15 through Salt Lake County, it was doing something that quite frankly, the state could not afford at the time. The state grew in proportion to those projects, people payed their taxes and the projects paid for themselves (growth).

    You need powerful senators (especially when you only have a small number of congressmen) to make this federal funding happen and Senators only become powerful it they have a spot in committees and have several terms under their belts.

    Utah is now one of the fastest growing economic states in the Union. Thank you Senator Bennett.

  • BillyMays Wellsville, Utah
    Dec. 21, 2010 4:30 p.m.

    When politicians like Bennett pander more to illegals from mexico than to their own constituents, then they truly have lost touch with the people of Utah and it's definitely time for them to RETIRE.

    Are you getting the message yet, Orrin Hatch, Mark Shurtleff, Ralph Becker, Chris Burbank?

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    Dec. 21, 2010 11:57 a.m.

    I am proud of Utah for having the good sense not to reelect Sen. Bennett. There is no doubt he has done good in his career, but Washington has gotten to him and it is time for him to move on, for his good and the good of the state.

    If he thinks that this election is the end of the world, then that proves that he was in there too long. He may be interested to learn that people have satisfying and highly productive lives that don't involve politics.

    Perhaps he could spend time doing things that matter more, oh, like going on a mission. I like to think that after all these years in Washington that he still has a testimony left in there. How about it Senator?

  • Andersonsue Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 21, 2010 8:41 a.m.

    Thank you for your service.

  • firestorm Lehi, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 5:36 p.m.

    It seems to me the pro-Bennett post on this article are from the east and west coast liberal states. Bennett spent recklessly and ignored sound constitutional policy. He moved this country ever closer to socialistic slavery and economic bondage. He became a mamber of the "power elite", and betrayed the trust of his constituants. He consistantly voted for big government socialistic programs and expendatures. If this country decends into bondage and slavery to the government, Bennett and his ilk will be mostly responsible....

  • LaughingOutLoudAtYou WEST JORDAN, UTAH
    Dec. 20, 2010 3:46 p.m.

    So, Bob goes from being a paid off corporate lobbyist puppet to becoming a lobbyist himself.
    All career politicians become too embedded.

    Seeya Bob, fresh blood awaits.

  • pat1 Taylorsville, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 9:45 a.m.

    I am still in favor of term limits for senators and representatives, because even if they do a good job after years in office, they can so easily let power go to their heads and not represent their districts.

    That said, though, I do admire Bennett's ability to work together with others, something that is going away with the extremism of tea partiers who thrive on feel-good rhetoric without logical solutions to the nation's problems. I'd rather have Bennett in than Chaffetz ANY DAY.

  • Dropping By Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 20, 2010 12:27 a.m.

    For such a privileged elitist, Sen. Bennett's exit has been wholly lacking in class. It's always difficult to watch a spoiled person, convinced of their own righteous entitlement, flail about as they realize that, finally, the answer will be "No."

  • Duckhunter American Fork, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 11:37 p.m.

    I'm extremely happy he is gone. He was absolutely part of the problem. Hatch is also part of the problem and he is next and I for one will keep trying to identify those that are the problem and get rid of them as well.

  • Skippy West Jordan, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 10:40 p.m.

    Bennett served his time...he is done, thank you very much. He seems to forget that he was all for "term limits" when he was running for office, but the voters in Utah did not forget that. It might of taken us awhile, but finally we let him retire!

  • JMT Springville, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 9:12 p.m.

    We need more moderates?! UG!

    I think everyone knows the debt, its approaching $14 trillion. Have you considered non-discretionary spending? This is called America's obligation. It is what we "have to pay" regardless of whether or not we can afford it. If you count all of the promises made by the great moderates like Bob Bennett the debt and obligation screams upwards to over $100 trillion! That is with a "T", not a mistype.

    We have 'moderated' ourselves into insolvencey. Economists are now talking about the Federal Reserve being insolvent. They are debating what happens if/when America defaults on our national debt. Many insist that it will happen, not a matter of if but simply when. By 2020 the interest on our national debt will run over $1 trillion a year, that is just interest!

    Disagreeing with Bennett on what is spent is one debate. On how much is another. For Bennett and the many great moderates like him, debt does not matter.

    Oh vey!

  • JerseyGirl Sandy, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 7:06 p.m.


    It's impossible for TARP to have bankrupted us, because the money has been almost entirely paid back, and it's looking likely that, in the end, the government will make money on the deal. That and the fact that we avoided an international financial meltdown as a result is kind of nice, too.

    Shelving the Omnibus Bill hasn't saved the government any money, either. All it's done is postpone spending, not cut or eliminate it. The Omnibus Bill was reflective of the budget ceiling demanded by Republicans over the summer, which is why Senator McConnell and the GOP leadership backed the bill until they decided to play politics with it.

    The rest of your accusations are silly. He's "done everything he could to pass rewards for those who are invading the U.S?" Nonsense. "He has never represented the people of Utah?" Hooey. And saying his fellow Senators don't respect him is provably untrue.

    You can hate him all you want, but you can't get away with making stuff up.

  • David Centerville, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 6:15 p.m.

    I stand corrected...It was Senator Hatch that argued his predecessor had been in too long and it was time for a change. Was that nearly 30 years ago?

  • CJ Murray, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 6:12 p.m.

    Jersey Girl

    Our nation is being overrun with illegal aliens, whether you realize it or not, it is having a devastating effect on the country. This is not "immigration" it is a wholesale invasion and will destroy this country.
    Financially we are almost bankrupt thanks to TARP and an out of control administration. Your "good man" Bennett voted for TARP and was about to vote for the omnibus spending bill that would have been an even greater disaster.
    Senators take an oath to defend our borders and our nation. Your "good man" has done everything he could to pass rewards for those who are invading the U.S. Thankfully his own party decided to boot him out before he could do any more damage. He has never represented the people of Utah, he has always represented corporate interests and his fellow Senators all know it. They have said for years that he is the big business Senator.
    If they can see that why can't you? Bennett is a sell out RINO and he can't go soon enough for most of us.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 19, 2010 5:51 p.m.

    It was way past time for Bennett to step down and Hatch is next. The time has come to hold the thieves and robbers in Washington accountable for the sea of red ink we and future generations are now burdened with.

  • Jonathan Eddy Payson, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 5:50 p.m.

    Senator Bennett is a casualty of the ever blurring lines between bureaucracy and corpocracy, not to mention the hazards of breaking Constitutional law for the sake of the corporation of the UNITED STATES. He fell because he was incapable of serving two masters.

    Enough Utahns have finally decided to decipher what is causing the downfall of our beautiful country and we have apparently learned the truth before Mr. Bennett. And we are now intelligently taking action to stop this ridiculous mess that we are in. The sleeping giant is awake. I implore Senator Hatch to quickly get up to speed with your constituency before you too become a hiss and a byword.

    Remember Sir, this a country for, by and of the People, not the private property of the Corporation of the UNITED STATES located in Washington DC.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 5:35 p.m.


    Where have you been?

    Graciously supported Lee? Are you kidding?

    He spent weeks deciding whether or not he would run as an Independent!

    He is still currently bashing the Tea Party movement and their ideals!

    This guy was raised as a Senator's Son. Most of his early and teenage years were spent in Washington DC.

    In touch with Utah? Not!

    When Jake Garn retired with his 5 Million Dollar "Campaign Fund Nestegg" (now illegal), he promtly moved to his multi-million dollar Park City home.

    Then Bob Bennett was literally "Appointed" to fill his shoes.

    You have alot to learn about Public Service.

    If you think a Senator's Pension is equal to my Father-in-Law's, who spent 20 years in the military and 28 more at Hill Air force Base, as a civilian, you're naive.

    It will take Bennett just 4 years to receive his first million from the taxpayers.

    Bennett's retirement package is 4-5 times what a Federal employee receives.

    Congressmen have to serve only 2 terms to receive 90% of their last salary, for their lifetime!

    Good man yes.... also a very Out Of Touch Senator.


  • OneAmerican Idaho Falls, ID
    Dec. 19, 2010 5:08 p.m.

    Term limits exist...we vote them out when we no longer agree with their voting. We don't need a law to prevent people from serving if they're doing a good job; he wasn't, he's gone. Next it will be HATCH (hopefully). Hatch has betrayed what he once stood for. As Deseret News reported a few monhts ago, Hatch said of repealing health care, "It's harder than you think" as if to say "Why try." When asked why elected officials aren't forced to live under the laws they pass, he said "That might cause more harm than good." Yup, time for Hatch and Bennett to become fishing buddies.

  • wdcarp Murray, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 4:33 p.m.

    Mr. Bennett's attitude with those who disagreed with him was one of an elitist. His supporters feel the same way. They believe you have to compromise principle and morality, and commitment to your constituency to be a successful Senator.

    Pork should be fought not sought... something this 'class' has forgotten in their drunken stupor for Federal dollars.

    Those calling for comments to 'Show some class', need to remember that many of Bennett's supporters backed a Democrat in November. Very classy....

    Thank GOD some of us have started to demand accountability from those who are meant to serve us.

  • peter Alpine, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 4:09 p.m.

    Excuse me, but Bennett's comment about D.C. being filled with politicians who are dedicated to doing the right thing is ludicrous. Washington is a cesspool of liars and hypocrits who are there for self-serving purposes, and not for the general good of the people or this nation, with only a few exceptions.

  • JerseyGirl Sandy, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 3:55 p.m.

    @Bluto - His "temper tantrum?" You mean when, handed a tremendous defeat, he instantly and graciously vowed to support the Republican nominee and broke down in tears as he thanked his family and his staff? Were we at the same convention?

    His "multi-million dollar retirement," which is exactly the same federal retirement plan earned by all federal employees, including those at Hill Air Force Base? He will have to live several more decades to collect "multi-millions" from it. It seems you're more interested in nasty rhetoric than facts.

    @Helooo, I have met the good senator on several occasions and would classify myself as completely and totally "politically unimportant." Yes, he spoke to me, was kind to me, and was equally kind to all those around him.

    Please remember that this is a decent and good human being you're vilifying based solely on the political fashions of the day.

  • Jim Janney Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 3:46 p.m.

    Bennet is the best senator I've had in the 25 years I've been living in Utah. Of course, that's out of a field of three.

  • slgs5aggie Cedar City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 3:20 p.m.

    You serve, do the best you can, then leave. Politics should be considered a public service, and an act of a statesmen, not a career.

  • Christy Beaverton, OR
    Dec. 19, 2010 3:08 p.m.

    From the article:

    "Over the course of his career, Bennett's even temper and willingness to work with "the other side" earned him senior-level positions on influential Senate committees and respect from the top leaders of the country but it also cost him the re-election."


    What a shame.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 3:05 p.m.

    I was there when Bob Bennett promised the people of Utah, that he would serve only 2 terms (12 years). He got 3 terms (18) years and wanted 6 more.

    I was there when he stated on Larry King, during the Clinton Impeachment hearings, that Andrew Jackson was Impeached and he is now on the 20 dollar bill.

    Memo to Bob;

    That was Andrew Johnson who was impeached and he is not on the 20 dollar bill.

    I was there to witness Bob Bennett single handedly kill the Constitutional Amendment to protect the flag. His yea, would have sent it to the States.

    And we all witnessed Mr. Bennet's temper tantrum when the people of Utah decided that they wanted a "True Conservative", representing them and not another RINO.

    Good riddance Bob, enjoy your multi-million dollar retirement funded by the taxpayers and never forget, that you were sent to serve the people of Utah and not the other way around.

    On deck and next to be sent packing.....

    Orrin Hatch.

    Move over, it's the Next Generations turn, as the Founding Fathers intended.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 2:29 p.m.

    Never met a more arrogant, self absorbed man in my life. He would not talk to you if you were not politically important to him. He is an was a political elitist and one we can say goodbye to with no regret.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 2:06 p.m.


    Term limits are called a ballot box.

    What happens when the beloved Tea Partier Mike Lee hits 12 years - will you also be calling for term limits?

  • TMR Santa Monica, CA
    Dec. 19, 2010 2:03 p.m.

    A nice tribute to a Senator whose depature is a significant loss to Utah and to the nation. The comment above the he was in the "dime a dozen" crowd reflects an ignorance about DC that is almost as frightening as the anger of the radical right (no, not "principled Republicans"). Bennett was a rare leader who simply got things done without seeking the camera (i.e., Hatch). History will look back and attribute his loss to a populist movement that like most populist movements had good intentions, but whose extremist elements eventually will exasperate the good sense of the majority. The sorry part, however, is that at a time when one of the Nation's most important institutions - the U.S. Senate - needs good, sound people like Bennett, it will instead be poisoned by agitators and self-inflated egoists like Mike Lee. At least it will be good theatre, but at what cost?

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 1:26 p.m.

    I'm not sure that "bringing billions of dollars" of federal money back to his home state is something that should be lauded.

    It's actually part of the problem.

  • JerseyGirl Sandy, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 12:43 p.m.

    It's stunning to me that so many people are eager to kick this good man on his way out. He was an outstanding senator, and I wish him all the best.

    As for "earmarks, earmarks, earmarks," those who complain about such would rather have President Obama decide how federal money is spent instead of their own representatives. Earmarks are simply Congress exercising its constitutional authority to direct federal funds. Eliminating them doesn't lower the budget by a single dime. And now that Orrin Hatch is trying to pretend he's a tea partier, it will be very interesting to see where all you people are in two years as Mike Lee and Tea Party Orrin deliberately abandon the state's infrastructure.

  • i am hank Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 11:31 a.m.

    Thank you, Bob, for your years of service. It has been very appreciated, and I wish you well in the future. Too many people fail to realize that the Senate was not your career, but a vehicle for you to serve after you had an extremely successful business career.

    To those who continue to attack this good man as he leaves public service, I hope that you will show respect and appreciation towards a man who did what he thought was best for Utah and the country, and made many personal sacrifices to do so. You may not agree with him completely, but he has earned and deserves our respect and thanks. The election is over. Stop the criticism and personal attacks. Show some grace and class -- Senator Bennett has earned at least that!

  • Maurice McBride Roanoke, VA
    Dec. 19, 2010 10:50 a.m.

    Bob Bennett has been a rather rare breed in Washington: Honest, principled, intelligent, insightful, and not given to hysteria. And totally loyal to his State. Unfortunately, this is not what a majority of the Utah Tea Party activists wanted in a Senator. Utah -- and more importantly, perhaps, the country -- has lost one of the great statesmen of our time.

  • MoJules Florissant, MO
    Dec. 19, 2010 10:28 a.m.

    I do not think this was against Bennett as much as it is against and tired of the "good ole boys" and Hatch I hope is next. If Lee doesn't do the job, it will be easier to bump him out. I wish Bennett the best.

  • gnrl39 South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 10:25 a.m.

    Two comments, We don't want or expect our polititians to make a career out of going to Washington and quit spending us into the poor house.

    Not seeing his demise coming only a few months ago tells me that even though he's a nice man, he's like the rest of our polititians, he just doesn't get it.....

  • Digbads South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 10:23 a.m.

    What is a "moderate" Republican? I guess by the descriptions in this article, it is a big spending big government politician with an "R" by his name.
    Stop the spending. Cut spending first. Why can't these guys figure that out?

  • Informed Voter South Jordan, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 10:16 a.m.

    12 years are enough for anyone....18 are far too many. Bennett is one of the few senators who deserve the term "The Honorable" but he did not fight for smaller government or the end of earmarks. It is nice he still supports his vote; we the voters also support our votes to retire him.

  • nottyou Riverton, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 10:15 a.m.

    "For years, Bennett brought billions of dollars to his home state through federal funds..."

    Hello!!! Earmarks, earmarks, earmarks...maybe now he gets the message.

  • thelogicalone salt lake city, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 10:01 a.m.

    I want to say thank you to Senator Bennett for serving his community but let's make it clear; he lost his job because he was out of touch. Yes, he did play on a team and yes he played the game, but he was out of touch with his constituents. I can't think of one piece of legislation that he can take credit for, legitimately. I know he piggy backed a lot of legislation, brought a lot of pork, stayed in office longer than he should. Enjoy your retirement Senator.

  • KM Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 9:15 a.m.

    Where are term limits? Anybody listening?

  • my slc Newport Beach, CA
    Dec. 19, 2010 9:01 a.m.

    Thank you Senator Bennett for your service.

  • goatesnotes Kamas, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 8:16 a.m.

    It's no secret I opposed Senator Bennett's earmark politics, but as a man he's as thoroughly good as a man can be. And now, let the Mike Lee era begin.

  • Indiana Sandy, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 8:12 a.m.

    Our friend and brother also voted to repeal DADT. It is right for him to retire.... time to enjoy the grandkids and do no more damage to this great nation. Glad I could help.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 7:46 a.m.

    We traded Bennett for Mike Lee? Oh, what has Utah done?

  • Red Smith American Fork, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 7:38 a.m.

    It's time for a change after 18 years.

    Bennett is a fine man.

    Mike Lee is another fine man who can do the job.

    Why can't fine men voluntarily leave after 18?

  • David Centerville, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 7:21 a.m.

    Bennett's loss is not merely because he crossed the aisle to compromise and negotiate. His loss is not solely due to a perception in Utah that he is not conservative enough.

    There is a strong feeling among many Utahns that you only heard from Senator Bennett around election time. When contacting him via email, phone messages, letters, or other means, you never heard back from him and often you never heard back from anyone in his office.

    He seemed distant and not listening to Utahns.

    I think his age played a factor as well. How long should one continue serving as a Senator. Is 18 years not enough? Bennett used the same logic to oust the Senator he beat out when he first won election. Now he is offended that this same argument is used against him?

    Due to the internet and other forms of information, people are more informed today. They are also more involved. You cannot simply vote in the Senate and not make effort to reach out to constituents and explain your reasons for voting the way you did. Bennett was behind the times.

  • dumprake Toquerville, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 7:20 a.m.

    Senator Bennett is still clueless, and I'm offended at the tone of this article; praising him for all the pork he brought to Utah, pretending that compromising oneself into a valueless drone is somehow admirable, and ignoring the fact that many of his votes were so awfully wrong. Something ugly happens when someone is in office too long, they believe they are invincible, that their votes don't matter, that they can compromise with the devil and be forgiven for it. Bennett made so many bizarre votes, it's difficult to list them all, he never looked to the constitution for guidance in his voting, and he committed the unpardonable sin, he distanced himself from the voters in Utah and ignored them. I will not miss him, and I look forward to a new generation of constitutional senators.

  • EndOfAnError-01/20/2013 Suwanee, GA
    Dec. 19, 2010 7:09 a.m.

    Let's see. Bennett was first elected in 1992. The national debt was $4.2 trillion. Eighteen years later, the national debt sits at $13.2 trillion. I would say it is time to stop compromising.

  • patriotandmore Spanish Fork, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 7:08 a.m.

    Too bad ALL of the elected officials in Washington D. C. who were at the reins of power while our country went down the financial commode aren't voted out.

  • firestorm Lehi, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 6:36 a.m.

    Bennett didn't see it comming because he lost touch with the people of Utah, The people he was supposed to reperesent and vote for. He became a TOOL for the inside the beltway crowd. His votes for liberal anti constitutional policies and programs cost him his job. And so it will be for any Utah senator (Hatch ! are you listening!) or representative that goes to washington and turns a deaf ear to the people of Utah..

  • J. Adams Sandy, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 6:07 a.m.

    Mr. Bennett's vote on immigration, especially the dream act, cost him his job. He lost the trust of Utahns with "ability" to reach across the isle to liberals.

  • Commontater Lehi, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 5:49 a.m.

    After 18 years his still doesn't get it. At last he is now free to join the Democrats. Too bad we are still going to have to pay his retirement.

  • milojthatch Provo, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 5:46 a.m.

    I did not agree with him all the time, but we need moderates like Bob Bennett. When I think about who will be replacing him, I shutter the thought. Mike Lee is a Libertarian in GOP clothing who will do more harm then good, if he does any good that is!

    Sorry to see you go Senator Bennett, you deserved better. Utah and the US deserves better! Dark days ahead...

  • LuVePacifica westvalley, Utah
    Dec. 19, 2010 2:41 a.m.

    May you take care..senator Bennett
    As well as one of those wonderful retirement plans.
    As leaving behind papers and a Office with much to focus about our America~

    you need a Break!

  • Bryan Syracuse, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 1:59 a.m.

    After his vote for the DREAM act, Bennett's departure can't come soon enough.

  • scarlet Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 19, 2010 12:56 a.m.

    Without a doubt, Bennett is a nice enough person. But that what bothered most principled conservatives about him was that he felt he was entitled to a "career" as a Senator. Public servants who don't have enough humility to understand their position isn't one of entitlement aren't really serving the public.

    Dime-a-dozen politicians like Bennett "get things done" in Washington, to excess to justify their existences. True statesmen show restraint by doing the right things and recognize that the Federal government doesn't have all the solutions and becomes less effective the larger it gets.

    Bennett, with all his deal-pushing and backscratching and entitlement spreading, earned his ouster.